East St. Louis voters set to vote again on fate of election board

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Aug 31, 2012

St. Clair County Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn on Friday approved a petition that will allow East St. Louis voters to answer the following question in the November General Election: Should the East St. Louis Board of Elections be disbanded?

Matt Hawkins, leader of the East St. Louis Alliance for Change who filed the petition seeking to get the question on the ballot, appeared in court unopposed.

No discussion was held, as East St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners attorney Richard Sturgeon did not appear.

McGlynn noted in his order that no objections were filed to the petition.

"No person or entity appears in Court to assert any objection," McGlynn wrote in an order. "The proposition shall be placed on the ballot for the general election to be held, Tuesday, November 6, 2012."

Hawkins filed a complaint Aug. 13, petitioning the court for a public hearing regarding the city's 1885 election law.

His petition which contains 1,000 signatures of registered East St. Louis voters asked the court to place a question on the November ballot, asking if the city election law should be rejected.

The election law of 1885 allows municipalities other than county government to establish an election commission referendum. East St. Louis adopted the election law of 1885 a year later, in 1886, Hawkins said.

East St. Louis voters rejected the very same measure that appeared on the March primary election ballot. A total of 3,359 voters said "No" to 1,503 voters who said "Yes" to the question.

Hawkins expects voters will react differently in November.

"The Obama election will increase turnout two to two-and-a-half times," he said.

He believes independent voters will support this ballot initiative and that the resignation of East St. Louis Board of Elections Executive Director James Lewis will bear favorably on the election measure. He also plans to create a news mailer.

Hawkins contends East St. Louis cannot afford to support its own elections board.

"As long as we persist, we will win," Hawkins said.

East St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners Assistant Executive Director Kandrise Mosby had no comment as she said she had not heard about the petition.

"There is no comment from me, because I haven't seen or heard anything," she said.

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